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Re: Bohemian Poet's Group in Hawaii?

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  • keith2draw
    Aloha Yvette, First off, I had no idea Bob Krauss had passed away. How sad. I exchanged Blanding info with him a few years back...he had a wealth of
    Message 1 of 11 , Mar 10, 2008
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      Aloha Yvette,

      First off, I had no idea Bob Krauss had passed away. How sad. I exchanged Blanding info with
      him a few years back...he had a wealth of information on Hawaiian matters.

      I think the literary group that Bob refers to from the early 1920s was a loose-knit bunch of
      newspaper journalists, poets and artists who would meet at Madge Tennent's three-story
      house on Liliha Street (Don, and probably others, rented rooms from her).

      I know Clifford Gessler was part of this group, but I don't know much more than that (I wish I
      did!)

      Keith
    • Cadia Los
      Aloha, Yvette, and welcome to the group! The vibrancy of the Honolulu arts scene in the 1920s, and earlier, never ceases to amaze me. Artists, writers,
      Message 2 of 11 , Mar 10, 2008
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        Aloha, Yvette, and welcome to the group!

        The vibrancy of the Honolulu arts scene in the 1920s, and earlier,
        never ceases to amaze me. Artists, writers, musicians, thespians and,
        yes, the fourth estate provided a creative energy unmatched even by
        San Francisco and New York.

        It helps to remember that, at the time, Honolulu was a relatively
        small town; everybody knew each other and offered support and
        encouragement. Having read the Star-Bulletin inch by column inch for
        the period 1917-1928, I cannot say that I've ever come across a formal
        writers group other than a group of society matrons who dabbled at
        writing and, of course, the venerable Honolulu Pen Women and the Press
        Club. Theater, music and artists' groups abounded.

        But there were many opportunities for creative people to get together
        at each other's homes or studios and to work on various projects.
        Before 1920, Helen Alexander's Laniakea was a social and cultural
        focal point in Honolulu.

        Madge Tennent, who was English, arrived in Honolulu with her husband
        and sons in 1923, the same year that Don Blanding and Frank Moore
        founded Cross-Roads Studio. By that time, Blanding had pretty much
        covered all the arts bases and knew everyone who had ever lifted a pen
        or a paintbrush. So I have no doubt that he knew your gg-grandfather,
        Herbert M. S. Ayres.

        Offhand, I can't recall having seen Ayres' name in my reading of the S-
        B, perhaps because the sports pages are not where I would normally
        find Blanding. When the next batch of microfilm arrives (1917
        Advertiser and 1920 S-B), I'll pay closer attention. However, in both
        newspapers, stories with bylines are fairly rare.

        But the name "Shakespeare" rings a bell. For years, Howard C. Case
        wrote a humor column for the S-B called "Down to Cases." (Please
        don't even ask why a well-respected reporter and fine writer was
        reduced to contributing drivel on a daily basis!) While I made copies
        only of the items that mentioned Blanding, I seem to recall an
        occasional reference to "Shakespeare" -- Case liked to use nicknames
        to protect the innocent, so to speak.

        What else do I know about Herbert M. S. Ayres? Well, there's a
        January 12, 1902 item in the New York Times (p. 1, no less; datelined
        Kenosha, Wisconsin) that mentions his abrupt disappearance from New
        York, reappearance 3 years later in Wisconsin and subsequent return to
        Honolulu. In 1902, Ayres was once again publishing The Volcano, which
        publication got him "ejected" from Hawaii some years earlier.

        I can confirm via census records that a Herbert M. Ayres was living in
        Honolulu in 1910 and 1920. The latter year, he is listed as being 51
        years old (born abt 1871) and head of a large multi-ethnic, multi-
        generation household. His wife's name is Rebecca and the census page
        indicates a Chinese-Hawaiian wife as well. Likely the right Herbert?

        I think Keith's suggestion of a "group" hanging out at Madge Tennent's
        home is worth following up. You might want to contact Elaine Tennent,
        Madge Tennent's daughter-in-law and curator of the Tennent Art Gallery
        Foundation in Punchbowl. Perhaps she has some stories to tell!

        You might also contact the University of Hawaii or the state library
        to see if copies of The Volcano are in a collection.

        And the 1902 story out of Kenosha mentions that Herbert Ayres worked
        for the New York Daily Press prior to his "disappearance."

        Good luck in your research. I'll keep an eye out for Ayres' name as I
        index my accumulation of material from both Honolulu newspapers.

        ~~C~~
      • Yvette Fernandez Kama
        Yes - it is our unfortunate loss of a true treasure - Bob passed on in September 2006. Much of his card index was donated and has been digitized and can be
        Message 3 of 11 , Mar 11, 2008
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          Yes - it is our unfortunate loss of a true treasure - Bob passed on in
          September 2006.

          Much of his card index was donated and has been digitized and can be
          found here:
          http://digicoll.manoa.hawaii.edu/krauss/index.php?c=1

          there may be more DB information to be gleaned from this priceless
          research tool.

          Yvette



          --- In aloha-donblanding@yahoogroups.com, "keith2draw"
          <keith2draw@...> wrote:
          >
          > Aloha Yvette,
          >
          > First off, I had no idea Bob Krauss had passed away. How sad. I
          exchanged Blanding info with
          > him a few years back...he had a wealth of information on Hawaiian
          matters.
          >
          > I think the literary group that Bob refers to from the early 1920s
          was a loose-knit bunch of
          > newspaper journalists, poets and artists who would meet at Madge
          Tennent's three-story
          > house on Liliha Street (Don, and probably others, rented rooms from
          her).
          >
          > I know Clifford Gessler was part of this group, but I don't know
          much more than that (I wish I
          > did!)
          >
          > Keith
          >
        • Yvette Fernandez Kama
          Aloha C - mahalo for the excellent additional leads to try - I had found the 1902 reference from the NYTimes. Much of the information there corroborated the
          Message 4 of 11 , Mar 11, 2008
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            Aloha C -

            mahalo for the excellent additional leads to try - I had found the
            1902 reference from the NYTimes. Much of the information there
            corroborated the storied and "kolohe" past of Herbert.

            It's wonderful to receive all of this new information today. This
            morning when I dropped my son to my mother-in-law's she had a treasure
            of her own to share with me about Herbert.

            but it also now poses new mysteries to solve.

            what she shared was her grandma's personal copy of a book of poetry he
            had published in 1916. Many of the poems in the book <i>Trade Wind
            Lyrics of Aloha Land and other verses</i> were actually written about
            g-grandma - in specific a poem entitled "The Little Brown Maid."

            In addition, she had several other genealogical/historical notes and
            clippings to share with me. The plot number/location of his burial in
            Reno,Nevada; A Honolulu Advertiser clipping from Oct. 1977 page B-3
            about the poetry book being unearthed in the cornerstone of the
            Kapiolani Hospital alongside royal artifacts (the cornerstone was laid
            in 1929 as part of the newer structure); a handwritten note with a
            birthdate - 1864 in England and also a death date - "Died Reno, Nevada
            on June 24, 1918"

            so that would make him 63-64 at the time of his death - and more
            notably - Dead at the time of a 1920 census and not in Honolulu???

            hmmm. another Herbert M. Ayres perhaps?

            One of his grandson's was named after him born in 1924 - but surname
            would have been different...I'll follow the lead anyway as this is the
            first time we've received any information about his Hawaiian wife (who
            we believe is a blood relative of great-grandma who he adopted).

            most of the references from Bob Krauss referenced him from 1905 - 1909
            in both The Star and the Pacific Commercial Advertiser.

            And post-mortem at least one poem "The Lei" was published again in the
            Hon. Adv. in 1/28/1933 as great-grandma had this clipped and pasted in
            her personal scrapbook.

            from the introduction/prologue of the aged, tattered and well loved
            book now passed down five generations - i leave you with a bit of
            Herbert's musings:

            "ALOHA! /
            Over the seas of sunset, over the water blue,/
            Come to Hawaii's golden isles - we long to welcome you;/
            For you the fairest garlands, for you the sweetest song,/
            For you the best aloha, are waiting --come along!"

            mahalo,
            Yvette



            --- In aloha-donblanding@yahoogroups.com, "Cadia Los" <duchess@...> wrote:
            >
            > Aloha, Yvette, and welcome to the group!
            >
            > The vibrancy of the Honolulu arts scene in the 1920s, and earlier,
            > never ceases to amaze me. Artists, writers, musicians, thespians and,
            > yes, the fourth estate provided a creative energy unmatched even by
            > San Francisco and New York.
            >
            > It helps to remember that, at the time, Honolulu was a relatively
            > small town; everybody knew each other and offered support and
            > encouragement. Having read the Star-Bulletin inch by column inch for
            > the period 1917-1928, I cannot say that I've ever come across a formal
            > writers group other than a group of society matrons who dabbled at
            > writing and, of course, the venerable Honolulu Pen Women and the Press
            > Club. Theater, music and artists' groups abounded.
            >
            > But there were many opportunities for creative people to get together
            > at each other's homes or studios and to work on various projects.
            > Before 1920, Helen Alexander's Laniakea was a social and cultural
            > focal point in Honolulu.
            >
            > Madge Tennent, who was English, arrived in Honolulu with her husband
            > and sons in 1923, the same year that Don Blanding and Frank Moore
            > founded Cross-Roads Studio. By that time, Blanding had pretty much
            > covered all the arts bases and knew everyone who had ever lifted a pen
            > or a paintbrush. So I have no doubt that he knew your gg-grandfather,
            > Herbert M. S. Ayres.
            >
            > Offhand, I can't recall having seen Ayres' name in my reading of the S-
            > B, perhaps because the sports pages are not where I would normally
            > find Blanding. When the next batch of microfilm arrives (1917
            > Advertiser and 1920 S-B), I'll pay closer attention. However, in both
            > newspapers, stories with bylines are fairly rare.
            >
            > But the name "Shakespeare" rings a bell. For years, Howard C. Case
            > wrote a humor column for the S-B called "Down to Cases." (Please
            > don't even ask why a well-respected reporter and fine writer was
            > reduced to contributing drivel on a daily basis!) While I made copies
            > only of the items that mentioned Blanding, I seem to recall an
            > occasional reference to "Shakespeare" -- Case liked to use nicknames
            > to protect the innocent, so to speak.
            >
            > What else do I know about Herbert M. S. Ayres? Well, there's a
            > January 12, 1902 item in the New York Times (p. 1, no less; datelined
            > Kenosha, Wisconsin) that mentions his abrupt disappearance from New
            > York, reappearance 3 years later in Wisconsin and subsequent return to
            > Honolulu. In 1902, Ayres was once again publishing The Volcano, which
            > publication got him "ejected" from Hawaii some years earlier.
            >
            > I can confirm via census records that a Herbert M. Ayres was living in
            > Honolulu in 1910 and 1920. The latter year, he is listed as being 51
            > years old (born abt 1871) and head of a large multi-ethnic, multi-
            > generation household. His wife's name is Rebecca and the census page
            > indicates a Chinese-Hawaiian wife as well. Likely the right Herbert?
            >
            > I think Keith's suggestion of a "group" hanging out at Madge Tennent's
            > home is worth following up. You might want to contact Elaine Tennent,
            > Madge Tennent's daughter-in-law and curator of the Tennent Art Gallery
            > Foundation in Punchbowl. Perhaps she has some stories to tell!
            >
            > You might also contact the University of Hawaii or the state library
            > to see if copies of The Volcano are in a collection.
            >
            > And the 1902 story out of Kenosha mentions that Herbert Ayres worked
            > for the New York Daily Press prior to his "disappearance."
            >
            > Good luck in your research. I'll keep an eye out for Ayres' name as I
            > index my accumulation of material from both Honolulu newspapers.
            >
            > ~~C~~
            >
          • keith2draw
            Yvette, Wow...I played with the Krause card index website a little bit - what a great resource! Thanks for the heads up! Keith
            Message 5 of 11 , Mar 11, 2008
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              Yvette,

              Wow...I played with the Krause card index website a little bit - what a great resource!

              Thanks for the "heads up!"

              Keith
            • Cadia Los
              Yvette ... Re: a handwritten note with a birthdate - 1864 in England and also a death date - Died Reno, Nevada on June 24, 1918 These dates would translate
              Message 6 of 11 , Mar 12, 2008
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                Yvette ...

                Re:

                a handwritten note with a birthdate - 1864 in England and also a
                death date - "Died Reno, Nevada on June 24, 1918"

                These dates would translate to age 54-55 in 1918.

                The Herbert M. Ayres listed on the 1910 and 1920 census showed a DOB
                of about 1871 in England. You may want to check the census records
                via Ancestry.com or Heritage Quest at your local library. I did not
                have time to look at the 1900 census to try locating your Herbert M.
                in either New York or Wisconsin. The citations I checked were the
                only ones associated with both England and Hawaii. The several
                surnames in the household will be useful in confirming or eliminating
                the listing. One intriguing thing -- one of the 1920 household
                members was listed as an adopted daughter!

                However, if your Herbert M. was indeed deceased in 1918, then it is
                barely possible that Don Blanding would have known him. DB arrived in
                Honolulu on December 22, 1916 at age 22 and was associated with the
                Advertiser (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, at the time) in 1917. By
                the end of 1917, he had enlisted in the Army and was at Fort Shafter.

                Methinks you may want to start reading the Advertiser for the decades
                before 1918. I'll be finishing 1917 and may look at most of 1918,
                since DB left Hawaii on October 1, 1918, bound for Camp Grant.

                Unfortunately, neither the Advertiser nor the Star-Bulletin are
                indexed prior to 1929 -- so it's a blind search. Armed with the bits
                of information you have, however, you may be able to enlist the aid of
                the University of Hawaii and/or Honolulu Community College, or even
                someone at either newspaper, to do some digging.

                Good luck!

                ~~C~~
              • Curt Blanding
                ... Cadia, While you re looking through the microfilm, please check Feb. 12, 1916 and/or 1917 for mention of a play by The Footlights at the Honolulu Opera
                Message 7 of 11 , Mar 12, 2008
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                  At 07:46 PM 3/12/2008, you wrote:
                  >DB arrived in
                  >Honolulu on December 22, 1916 at age 22

                  Cadia,

                  While you're looking through the microfilm, please check Feb. 12,
                  1916 and/or 1917 for mention of a play by "The Footlights" at the
                  Honolulu Opera House. The play was "In a Persian Garden" featuring
                  Don Blanding and Florence Butler.

                  The Honolulu Community Theater (now known as Diamond Head Theatre)
                  still insists that Don Blanding was in that play on Feb. 12,
                  1916. While we all insist that DB didn't arrive until Dec.
                  1916. Obviously one of us is off by a year.

                  It would help a lot if you could find that play mentioned in the paper.

                  Curt
                • Cadia Los
                  Curt, I addressed the probable source of the theater s photos in my message #4092 on January 30, 2007.
                  Message 8 of 11 , Mar 15, 2008
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                    Curt,

                    I addressed the probable source of the theater's photos in my
                    message #4092 on January 30, 2007.

                    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aloha-donblanding/message/4092

                    For the record, I have read the Honolulu Star-Bulletin for the
                    period January 20 - March 20, 1916. During this time, the
                    Footlights Club did NOT present a play titled "In a Persian Garden."

                    The Footlights Club did present an "innovative entertainment" at the
                    University Club on February 12, 1916. Quoting from the S-B article
                    in the February 12 Society section (p. 11, col. 1):

                    This entertainment "is taking the form of tableaux and a dance
                    afterwards. The tableaux are arranged from the verses of the
                    Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. It has all been done under the direct
                    supervision of Mrs. F.T.P. Waterhouse, with assistance from Mr.
                    William Lewers. It is going to be truly lovely.

                    "Mrs. Bruce Cartwright has the tableau after

                    'Yon rising Moon that looks for us again--
                    How oft hereafter will she wax and wane.
                    How oft hereafter rising look for us
                    Through this same garden and for one in vain!' [etc.]

                    "Those in Mrs. Cartwright's tableau are Mrs. William Lymber, Miss
                    Edith Williams . . . Mr. Fred Ohrt and Mr. Robert Purvis.

                    "The next tableau is that of Mrs. C.B. High and Mrs. Frank
                    Armstrong, and the verse is

                    'A book of verses underneath the Bough,
                    A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread -- and Thou
                    Beside me singing in the Wilderness --
                    Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!'

                    "Mrs. Ingram Stainbach and Mr. Bob Purvis represent this tableau.
                    Miss Louise Churchill is going to sing selections from 'The Persian
                    Garden.'"

                    The article goes on to describe two additional tableaux and their
                    participants. Neither Florence Butler nor Don Blanding are among
                    them.

                    In the April 9, 1917, opening of the Lanai Theater, Blanding did
                    appear in a tableau with Miss Butler, as described in my original
                    response. He also appeared in a second tableau with Mrs. Ambrose
                    Patterson [wife of an artist], titled "Some Passions and Pierrot."
                    This pair posed as both Jealousy and Love. The figure of Pirrot was
                    done by E. H. Steele, better known as Ned Steele, a cartoonist for
                    the Advertiser.

                    "In a Persian Garden," by the way, is not a play but a song cycle
                    for four voices by British singer and composer Liza Lehmann:

                    ". . . her 1896 Omar Khayyam settings, which was her best known
                    substantial work enjoying vogue before the First World War when the
                    Victorian and Edwardian love of exotica, even erotica, albeit held
                    at decorous arms length and seen through the prism of imperial
                    grandeur, could penetrate the tightest of corsets and the stiffest
                    of collars during long country house weekends when much
                    entertainment came out of the piano stool."

                    I maintain that, if the photos are of DB and Miss Butler, they are
                    from the 1917 Lanai Theater presentation. If they are not, then
                    they may be of Mrs. Stainbach and Mr. Purvis or any of the other
                    participants in the 1916 Footlights Club presentation.

                    ~~Cadia
                  • Cadia Los
                    Yvette, thanks from me, too, for the tip on Bob Krause index. While there are only 23 citations for Don Blanding, it does confirm my hope that DB did write a
                    Message 9 of 11 , Mar 15, 2008
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                      Yvette, thanks from me, too, for the tip on Bob Krause' index. While
                      there are only 23 citations for Don Blanding, it does confirm my hope
                      that DB did write a second article in 1924 to describe his Paris
                      sojourn.

                      Unfortunately, that article is dated October 18, 1924 -- within the
                      missing segment of Star-Bulletin microfilm that I've been trying to
                      get my hands on. The period from October 16-31 is on the short list
                      that I gave to Bev Leinbach before she went to Maui last week. If
                      she can't locate it there, I'll start bugging the UH librarians and,
                      if need be, the morgues of both Honolulu newspapers!

                      Another S-B item that shows up in the Krause index is a 1920 article
                      about the Honolulu arts scene. I will be reading 1920 microfilm soon.

                      ~~Cadia
                    • Y. Fernandez
                      fyi - The Krauss index is a work in progress - additional items are usally added on a weekly basis. ... From: Cadia Los To:
                      Message 10 of 11 , Mar 16, 2008
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                        fyi - The Krauss index is a work in progress - additional items are usally added on a weekly basis.

                        ----- Original Message ----
                        From: Cadia Los <duchess@...>
                        To: aloha-donblanding@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Saturday, March 15, 2008 3:26:32 PM
                        Subject: [aloha-donblanding] Re: Bohemian Poet's Group in Hawaii?

                        Yvette, thanks from me, too, for the tip on Bob Krause' index. While
                        there are only 23 citations for Don Blanding, it does confirm my hope
                        that DB did write a second article in 1924 to describe his Paris
                        sojourn.

                        Unfortunately, that article is dated October 18, 1924 -- within the
                        missing segment of Star-Bulletin microfilm that I've been trying to
                        get my hands on. The period from October 16-31 is on the short list
                        that I gave to Bev Leinbach before she went to Maui last week. If
                        she can't locate it there, I'll start bugging the UH librarians and,
                        if need be, the morgues of both Honolulu newspapers!

                        Another S-B item that shows up in the Krause index is a 1920 article
                        about the Honolulu arts scene. I will be reading 1920 microfilm soon.

                        ~~Cadia




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